Monday, 31 May 2010

Easier feathers

While feathering the next two borders on this quilt, I finally got sick of having what felt like virtually nothing (actually 3in) to move the quilt against to the left of the needle. Especially when making a lot of sideways movements, this leads to jerky or badly-placed quilting lines.
I tried once before adding a quilting 'table' (a cut-down nappy box) around my old sewing machine, but hated the way the front edge of it forced my hands (and therefore my long-suffering shoulders) up too high. This machine curves down at the front, which is much better, and the problem was at the side, so I found a suitably-sized strong cardboard box and traced the shape of the machine on the sides, trimmed and reformed it to match my sewing machine's shape.
I attached the extension with masking tape, then decided it was a bit rough for the quilt to slide across. I bought a sew-slip for my machine last year and trimmed it to size, then hated it and never used it again, but I kept the large off-cuts, and these covered the cardboard nicely.
It worked a treat, and with now 12 inches of useable space to the left of the needle, it was much, much easier to quilt the feathers. I chose to quilt the inner bunny damask border and the toile of the owls border together. The feathers might seem a bit fancy given I didn't want the quilting to stand out from the fabrics, but it actually works well. It's subtle, smoother and more interesting than a stipple, and gives the right quilitng density. And it looks good on the back. And it's more practice!
Plus, I got to try out this new curves tool (which I bought with Adds at Textile Traders while visiting Perth) to mark the spine.

Giggle and Hoot

If you have come here trying to find Giggle and Hoot merchandise try this link to the ABC shop. You can register to receive information on when it will be available. Update, August 2010: Hoot Tshirts and Jimmy Giggle's (summer) pyjamas in children's sizes 1-4 will be available in October, and Hoot plush toys, a book and a CD after that. If you would like a customised 'Hoot' quilt (for example like these I made for my children), please leave a comment here - you don't need to be a 'blogger'; just click on 'post a comment' at the bottom of this page and leave me a way of contacting you - or click here for my profile, where you will find a button to email me directly. Emma (mother of two Giggle and Hoot fans!).



James and Eleanor's Giggle and Hoot quilts have been a big hit; I'm so glad I got them done in time for the start of the cool weather. Almost every day both quilts are out on the sofa, and they both have them on at night, despite having other quilts for there.


I had to borrow the quilts quickly while Simon was out with the James and Eleanor and photograph them before they get too used! I took the photos in rather a rush, as it was starting to drizzle, and didn't notice until later that I hadn't quite centred the camera, so they don't look quite square.
I borrowed one on the sofa yesterday, and can't wait until I have the chance to put mine together. I'm almost wishing I'd bought minkee to back mine, too!
I quilted Eleanor's with a combination of wavy lines and loops, but did James' with a large stipple. It's an easy way to tell them apart.
They're pretty possessive of their quilts, but this afternoon while they were watching DVDs, James brought his to Eleanor for them to share

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Quilting the forest

Here's a bit more of a look at the commission quilt I'm working on. The colours aren't overly accurate here. I've done most of the stabilising quilting-in-the-ditch and have started the fun part - the free-motion quilting. There's ony one part of the centre tree section left to quilt. I'm trying to space out the quilting more than I usually do with my tree quilts, because I know I need to keep a fairly consistent quilting density across the quilt to keep it flat, and I don't want the whole thing too stiff. The centre does need a fair bit of quilting though, because just after quilting around the tree's branches, it's already puffed-up in the spaces around it. I think I've struck a good balance around the tree; as little as possible while keeping it smooth and even. But I'll have to rethink my quilting design for the first border, as it'll be too heavy. I think the problem is that the pieces are quite small and I keep wanting to do too much detail. I have feathers planned further out.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Soft as a Feather

Over the weekend I finished another quilt. I've called this one Soft as a Feather after the minkee pieces and feather quilting.
The minkee was difficult to piece, because the fabrics slid with the pile, but I got better at minimising that as I went, and will probably use more of the minkee left from backing James and Eleanor's quilts to make similar baby quilts, as it's just so beautifully tactile.
As mentioned previously, the coloured sections of coins are feathered between the minkee strips, and the white sashing is stippled. You can see the whole back in the earlier post.
The purple border is quilted as though it's a single side of a very straight feather. On one side the plumes got too perpendicular and don;t look so great, but it was good practice, and baby Cerys won't mind!
I bound the quilt with a different colourway of the border fabric.
Eleanor loves the softness of the minkee; while it was in the bag waiting to be used, she'd slide her whole arm in between the layers and say, "It's nice and comfortable in here" with a blissful grin on her face.
This was a quick quilt to piece, and fast to quilt as well; exactly what I need at the moment. I think I can count about 10 friends/relatives who've had babies in the last 2-3 weeks!
May is a good month for birthdays!
This quilt is headed for England shortly. Like her big sister, Cerys conveniently chose to arrive just before my Gran goes on a holiday to England, so this quilt can be hand-delivered like her sister's.

Sunday, 23 May 2010


Today we went to my parents' for morning tea. Neither James nor Eleanor were feeling the best, so we took along the new snuggle quilts I've made them. I haven't photographed the quilts properly yet, but here they are in use:
Playing with Grandma (my grandma; one of their great grandmothers)

They're made of flannel quilt fabrics - mostly Valori Wells' designs, including the fabrics I won in a giveaway on her blog a while ago. They particularly love owls at the moment, and call these their 'Hoot' quilts. They will be named 'Giggle' and 'Hoot' when I get around to attaching the labels I printed this afternoon.

It didn't take long after I got the quilts out for them to warm to the other guests and start playing a giggly game of hide-and-seek under their quilts!

A shelf at last!

About 2 years ago I bought a shelf to go above the computer desk. Suddenly (finally!) yesterday Simon decided he'd put it up for me. At the same time, I made sure he put up my pinboard - which hasn't been up or in use since I moved out of home 11 years ago!
The pinboard is likely to get a lot more cluttered over time, and is already turning out to be very handy. I'm still playing with options about what to store permanently on the shelf. At the moment there's a pile of quilts, incuding some of mine, a few WIPs and half a dozen mini quilts from swaps which are waiting to be hung while I sort out the final wall. And a beautiful bunch of irises (my favourites) which Simon brought home for me on Friday.

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Giveaway winner

The winner of my Sew Mama Sew giveaway is Paulette from Canada!

Paulette, please email me via my profile with your address and I'll get the pattern and kit in the mail.

Thank you to all of you for coming by and entering. Once the rush of the Bloggers' Quilt Festival is over, I'll try to visit all of your blogs in return.

The tree pattern is available in my Etsy shop.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Bloggers' Quilt Festival - Seaside

Welcome to the Spring 2010 Bloggers' Quilt Festival. Click on the link to check out the ever-growing list of quilts exhibited in this virtual festival, and to add yours!

The quilt I decided to enter is Seaside; one of my favourites. I have blogged about it before, so will try not to rehash what I said then too much!
Seaside was made for the birth of my first niece, and the design was born out of wanting something that would go with the Beach quilt I made as her parents' wedding gift (below):
I spend a lot of time searching for and collecting suitable sand, water, sky and reef fabrics for these quilts. Sand is the hardest to find. I have a couple I love, and will be sad when I run out of them.
In the centre scene shown above, I machine embroidered the red flag and the blue spade handle after they were covered by the pieces of fabric where the waves come onto the beach. I wish I'd bought more of that fabric, too!
This quilt was made just before I started adding comprehensive printed labels to the back of all my quilts.
Some detail of the reef. Again, this quilt was early in my FMQing days, and while I was adventurous at the time, the seaweed quilted in green is fairly simple.
Seaside was the first of several foundation-pieced beach scene quilts, and I have 2 more planned which I am about to start, but am still pondering new variations on the design. The second was made for my second niece (same family), and I called it Breakfast on the Beach (below):
The third is entitled Footsteps (below) and was made to be raffled to raise funds for James and Eleanor's child care centre at thye end of last year, and now lives with my quilting friend AJ. To see some of the design process of Footsteps, browse back through the posts before the linked one.
Thank you for visiting, I hope you'll come back. I love to read your comments, and do my best to reply to them all and visit your blog in return. For any new visitors here, on the right you'll see lists of quilts completed in recent years; these are all links and will take you to the main post about each quilt, most with plenty of photos.

Beach Scene quilt pattern available here now.

Monday, 17 May 2010

May Giveaway Day - Winter Harvest Pattern & Kit

Entries CLOSED - Winner announced here.

Welcome to May Giveaway Day 2010!

I'm giving away a kit for Winter Harvest, along with my Winter Harvest ~ Seasonal trees quilt pattern. The kit includes all the fabrics required for the quilt top, back and binding. The apples and leaves are even pre-marked on Lite Steam-a-seam2 and fused to the fabric ready for you to cut out. Fusibles are best not folded, so the only one you'll need to do yourself is the actual tree.

Winter Harvest

If you don't win, the patterns are available in my Etsy Shop: Sampaguita Quilts along with some of my original Seasonal Trees quilts.

Autumn - Seasonal Trees
If you'd like to win, please leave a comment on this post, telling me which of my quilts is your favourite. You can check them out on Flickr, or by browsing the links on the right ---> (you may need to scroll down a little) which take you to the main post about each quilt I've made since 2007.

Spring - Seasonal Trees
Entries are open until midnight on May 20th. I'm in Australia (but willing to post internationally) so will draw and announce the winner on the evening of the 21st - Adelaide time.

A version of my tree used as the centre
of a new single (twin) bed quilt I'm making

Please make sure that you leave me a way of contacting you. If you're set up as 'no-reply', I cannot respond to your comment (and let you know if you are the winner) unless you leave your email address. Remember to come back and check if you won!

While I have your eyes, I'd also like to briefly draw your attention to the upcoming virtual Bloggers' Quilt Festival and encourage you to 'exhibit' a quilt and/or browse those on display in the week starting on the 21st of May.

Thank you for visiting. Best of luck, and I hope you'll come back again soon!

Quilting job complete

I have finally finished quilting this customer quilt. it's a beautiful applique which, with its owner's permission, you will see once I've photographed it in daylight tomorrow. I had no more needle breakages today, which was a huge relief, and by chopping and changing between my two different free-motion feet/settings, and different colours (no idea why that made a difference, or perhaps it just made me feel as though I was doing something!) I got through the rest of it without having to stop too may extra times.
Each of the animal applique blocks has a different background filler. The vine above is probably my favourite.
I tried to quilt on the actual appliques as little as possible; mostly just along the applique stitching, and a little subtle stippling in a few of the larger expanses which needed something.
There were a few 'plain' blocks, which I filled in a variety of ways, including a couple of feathers...
...and these fun stars.
I quilted the whole quilt using matching Bottom Line threads, which don't detract from the beautiful applique. I stuck to the lime green on the back, where the quilting can be seen.
The back is mostly blue, but there are a few small sections of red and yellow...
Now I just need to restock on needles - I think I went through 3 packs of topstitch needles; it's lucky I keep plenty in. Quilting this has reinforced my desire for a long-arm - I enjoyed the process, but the problems were frustrating, and I'd like to think they wouldn't happen on a longarm.

Next up - May Giveaway Day!

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Nullarbor Stars - finished photos

I finished and photographed this quilt a while ago, but somehow never actually blogged it properly. It's so big that we don't have a plain section of wall big enough for it. The best spot was over the kitchen window...
...and even that wasn't entirely flat. In addition to the window itself, there are a few pipes which stick out, and I couldn't stick the quilt totally flat. It's also further under the eaves than my preferred spot, so the top is a bit shadowed - and by the time it was all hung, I had direct sunlight on it in places as well.
Ages ago I got a tip from Valori Wells, who uses carpet tape to hold her quilts for photography. I've been using regular double-sided tape for ages, but even on a single bed quilt, I have to use masses of the stuff - and even then it won't hold long enough for my liking. I knew I'd really only be able to stick this one at the top, so finally hunted down the carpet tape - it was readily available at the local hardware store. I used two full-length strips across the top, and that was plenty. In fact, I re-used the same tape twice for other quilts the next day! But a word of caution, although it did no damage to either the quilt or my rendered wall, keep it off printed labels, and test a little on your walls first.
I haven't heard yet from my sister-in-law, as shortly after it arrived she ended up hospitalised and about a week later had her baby girl (whose quilt I am yet to start!).